New SATA good for tiny computers

The Serial ATA International Organization, which oversees the SATA technology used to plug hard disks and CD and DVD drives into computers, has extended the standard to smaller devices.

Version 2.6 of the SATA specification includes a "Slimline" cable and connector that lets smaller computers use SATA to plug in CD and DVD drives, the organization said Monday. Those optical drives today most often use the older ATA technology. The move toward SATA has begun in desktop computers.

In addition, the new SATA specification has a micro connector for 1.8-inch hard drives, the organization said. Those drives are used in gadgets such as digital media players and video cameras.

SATA, in general, allows for faster transfer times than its predecessor, ATA. It also makes possible some exotic technology such as high-speed external drives.

SATA 2.6 also improves an earlier feature called native command queuing, which lets the drive choose the best order to execute multiple requests from a computer to read and write data. The technology speeds up disk response times.

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